Physical therapy department to host open house

Published 5:31 pm Friday, October 17, 2014

Vidant Beaufort Hospital’s Physical Therapy department will host its second annual wellness open house, giving attendees the opportunity to participate in several physical therapy tests as well as learn what the department does for its patients.

On Oct. 21, the department will hold the open house from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Vidant Beaufort Hospital’s Outpatient Physical Therapy department, adjacent to Vidant Wellness Center, located at 1375 Cowell Farm Rd. in Washington, said Maria Stalls, the manager of the department. The event is held in October due to it being National Physical Therapy Month, Stalls said.

Open to the public, the event will feature several tests available to those who participate. The tests will measure balance, flexibility and strength, Stalls said. The department has a treadmill that measures gait pattern, the locomotion achieved through the movement of the limbs, and how it affects the body’s perception and balance.

“We’re opening the department so people can see what we have, what kind of equipment we use and to see what we’re all about,” Stalls said.

Stalls said flexibility will be tested like that of one’s hamstring, which is very tight on most people — usually more often in men than women. The flexibility will be tested through a standardized chart, comparing how that person would measure up against their peers of the same age and gender, Stalls said.

Also during the open house, there will be games like musical chairs, which serves as a test of balance, Stalls said.

“That doesn’t sound a lot like physical therapy, but that’s a huge balance test,” Stalls said. “It requires standing up and down quickly and changing direction so it’s a fun spin on physical therapy.”

Stalls said light refreshments will also be available during the open house, and there will be several opportunities to win prizes. Physical therapy is a multi-disciplined practice that is affected by one’s vision, healing, balance and more, according to Stalls. Sometimes when a patient is having trouble with balance, for example, it may be associated with that person’s vision, hearing or another problem they may be having, Stalls said.

“We’re hosting this just to raise awareness for what’s out there and what we provide,” Stalls said. “Sometime therapy is a little bit intimidating, but when they can come see what kind of environment it is and we can kind of calm people’s fears in a unintimidating way, we can show them what we’re about. It makes for a neutral environment that takes the pressure off.”